Firms pay 'deferred associates' to do public interest work

Some large law firms that had committed to hire associates before the economic downtown have come up with an innovative tactic. They are paying the "deferred associates" stipends to spend a year doing public interest work until the business slowdown ends -- for as little as a third of the salary they'd expected. The programs were "a creative response by the firms to what was a very ugly crisis," Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said. "My wish going forward is that what you can do in bad times you can do in good times." explores the possibility of such programs becoming permanent. carried this AP story

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Court: TCA


Phillips M. Smalling, Byrdstown, Tennessee, for the appellant, A. V. Conner.

Jon E. Jones and Andrew R. Binkley, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Betty L. Davis.

Judge: KIRBY

This case involves a claim of promissory fraud. The plaintiff is an elderly widow who lives on a farm. The defendant is in the oil business. The defendant approached the widow about drilling for oil on her farm. He told the plaintiff that if she invested in the oil wells, he would match her investment equally and manage the oil wells on her property. He proposed that they share in any profits 65% to the plaintiff widow, and 35% to the defendant. The widow agreed. Over several years, the widow invested over $100,000 in five oil wells. Some of the wells produced oil, and the resulting profit was shared 65%/35%. The widow later discovered that the defendant had not, in fact, invested any of his own money in the oil wells, and that he was mismanaging them. The widow then filed this lawsuit against the defendant for misrepresentation, fraudulent inducement, and mismanagement of the oil wells. After a bench trial, the trial court awarded the widow compensatory damages and punitive damages. It also divested the defendant of any future interest in the oil wells on the widow's property. The defendant now appeals. We affirm the trial court's decision in all respects.


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Wharton credits Williams with dream to be lawyer
Memphis Mayor-elect A C Wharton tells how a chance encounter with Avon Williams steered Wharton toward being a lawyer instead of a veterinarian. That moment came while he was watching Williams defend a civil-rights-era case in Lebanon. "I knew I wasn't strong enough to be something like a construction worker," Wharton said. "But I could be strong in mind, just like he was. ... The rule of law makes every man a big man."
The Memphis Daily News reports
Need is great for pro bono TennCare representation
A muscular dystrophy patient who represented herself at a recent TennCare hearing found it to be difficult but says she can't afford a lawyer. "If you don't speak the language of forms and things like that, you get lost," Angela Hibbitt said. She had contacted West Tennessee Legal Services for help but was turned away. Executive Director Steven Xanthopoulos confirmed that the legal service declines almost all TennCare cases. "It is very frustrating, but we don't have the resources," he said. "There are so many time-intensive cases, that we can't do them. I wish we could give people a meaningful source (in West Tennessee) but there really isn't one."
Find out more in the Jackson Sun
8th District Drug Court is certified
The Eighth Judicial Drug Court received state certification recently, which means the court and its staff are following the guidelines established by the National Drug Court Institute. It also means something more tangible, director Jonathan Finley said, that the team has found a way to make those guidelines work successfully for its participants. The court's statistics include a low recidivism rate and a greater number of babies born drug free to their one-time addicted mothers.
The Lafollette Press has more
Reconciliation program celebrates 2 decades
The Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) in Crossville recently celebrated 20 years. The Cumberland County program became Tennessee's second VORP in the fall of 1989. There are now 13 programs in the state. VORP provides free, neutral, confidential and voluntary access to everyone to resolve disputes through mediation.
The Crossville Chronicle reports
Gonzales greeted with mixed response at UT Martin
Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales got a mixed reception during a speech at UT Martin on Thursday. Gonzales resigned in 2007 amid accusations that he had authorized the torture of terrorism suspects. A group of about 35 students protested the speech, in which Gonzales stressed the importance of education and also defended the Bush administration's handling of the war on terror.
The Jackson Sun has this AP story
Breakfast to honor Nashville pro bono stars
As part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month, the Nashville Bar Association's Pro Bono Program and the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will host a breakfast to honor "individuals whose efforts have helped blast pro bono into the 21st century." The breakfast is Oct. 27 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Legal Aid Society, 300 Deaderick Street, in Nashville. Those being honored are Mary Beth Ausbrooks, Margaret Behm, Frank Grace, Chris Cronk, Justin Pitt, Lauren Roberts, Mike Sposato, Jan Jordan, David Taylor and Melissa Wibbens.
Find out more on the new Nashville Pro Bono blog
AWA honors Justices Clark, Lee and Holder
The Association for Women Attorneys (AWA) will present a seminar honoring Tennessee Supreme Court Justices Cornelia A. Clark, Sharon G. Lee and Chief Justice Janice M. Holder at Memphis's Botanic Garden's Hardin Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 3. The justices will present "Road to the Tennessee Supreme Court: Empowering Ourselves" and "Arguing and Writing Persuasively to the Tennessee Supreme Court." With three women on the five-member court, Tennessee is one of only three states with a majority female Supreme Court. The event is part of the AWA's 30th anniversary. For table reservations, email Mary-Morgan Whitfield or call (901) 821-0044; for single tickets, email Michelle Harkavy or call (901) 291-1500.

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